Toilets’ water tanks confirmed to have caused norovirus in Pyeongchang

South Korea’s public health authorities have confirmed that the “water tanks of portable toilets” were the reason behind an outbreak of norovirus at the host city of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics that affected around 300 security personnel for the event last month. 

The authorities announced Sunday that the water tanks of mobile toilets were what caused the norovirus infection as a result of its epidemiological investigation of Horeb Youth Camp Center and other related facilities. According to the investigation, the genotype of the virus detected in water tanks was matched with those of patients. There had been around 570 portable lavatories set up during the Olympic period and ironically, water used to wash hands or brush teeth before leaving a toilet for the sake of hygiene was the culprit of infection.

In Indonesia, an elementary school teacher in Cempedak Lobang village, North Sumatra, appears to have escaped severe punishment, despite forcing one of her students to engage in a revolting punishment that could have easily endangered his health.

Last week, the parents of a student, identified by his initials MB, complained about their kid’s teacher, a woman with the initials RM, who subjected their son to needlessly vile corporal punishment simply because he didn’t bring his homework to school.

“My son was told to lick the toilet 12 times. But after four licks, he vomited,” said SH, MB’s mother, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.

(Considering the state of the toilet as shown in the picture below, it’s surprising that MB managed to get in any licks before throwing up…)

Kids stricken with food poisoning at a school camp

Nothing is worse than when your child is ill. My son was recently sick with norovirus resulting in a plethora of explosions from both ends. My wife and I took the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick-frequent handwashing and sanitizing cause I realize how contagious this virus can be. Thankfully it worked.

A number of kids were ill at a school camp from food poisoning and one child was prescribed antibiotics. Let’s hope that tests were undertaken first to determine that the cause was bacterial and not viral…..

Riaan van Zyl reports

At least two Fairlands parents are upset with the way a primary school dealt with a food poisoning incident that occurred when their son went on a school camp.
The children were supposed to go on the camp from 5 until 9 March. But on 8 March, the school informed the father that his son and approximately seven other children were on their way home because “they were sick”. When the father went to fetch his son, he immediately took him to the doctor who informed him that the boy had food poisoning. Not only was the boy prescribed strong antibiotics but as a precautionary measure he was also treated for listeriosis.
What upset him and his wife is the delay in informing the parents that their children were ill. “If the children already started getting sick on Tuesday, why were we not informed and why were the children not taken to a doctor and only sent home on the Thursday?” His son also told him that about 30 children became ill, but then he found out that it allegedly was closer to 60 plus two adults.
He is now demanding answers but said the principal is giving him the runaround.
The school declined to comment and referred the Record to the Gauteng Department of Education.

17 new cases of Norovirus at the Winter Olympics

There’s a reason why people panic when they hear norovirus. It is extremely contagious and difficult to control. I’ve had it and the plethora of pain that accompanies it is not pleasant.

IOL reports:

Norovirus cases at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have risen to nearly 200, organisers said on Monday, despite an intense battle to contain the outbreak.
Seventeen new cases have taken the total to 194, although 147 of those affected have already been released from quarantine, they said.
About 1,200 security guards were quarantined and replaced by hundreds of soldiers when the highly contagious bug first came to light last week.
Officials say they are doing everything they can to stop more people getting the virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting and can be spread by contaminated food and water.
Any illness spreading to the competitors would be a major embarrassment to hosts South Korea.

Norovirus-contaminated raspberries likely caused deaths, sickened hundreds, in Quebec last summer

Frozen raspberries imported from China made hundreds of people sick in Quebec last summer and probably resulted in multiple deaths, according to a recent public health report. 

The infected fruits led to a wave of recalls in August 2017 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because they had been used by a variety of food processors such as brewers, pastry chefs and ice cream makers and had been cooked in hospital cafeterias and residences for seniors.

The raspberries were contaminated by Norovirus. At least 724 Quebecers fell ill, a number that may represent just “the tip of the iceberg” 

According to Dr. Yves Jalbert, director of public health protection at the Quebec health ministry, it is clear that there were deaths over this period. No specific number has been given. Public health officials in Quebec do not track the progress of each infected patient. 

Norovirus strikes white Olympics

More than 1,200 security guards have been withdrawn from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of a norovirus outbreak, organisers said on Monday. Out of the group, 41 suffered a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea on Sunday. They were transferred to hospital and most were diagnosed with a norovirus infection.

“The 1,200-odd people were pulled out from their duties,” an official of the Pyeongchang Olympic Organizing Committee was quoted as saying by AFP. “They were replaced by some 900 military soldiers. Health authorities were investigating the origin of the virus,” he said.

200 hit by noro on Sea Princess cruise ship docking in Brisbane

Jorge Branco of the Brisbane Times reports gastro has hit about 200 passengers on board a cruise ship docking in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

The Sea Princess was returning from a two-week trip to New Zealand, which saw as much as seven per cent of those on board struck down with norovirus.

Efforts were made to contain the outbreak, with further cleaning expected once passengers departed the 260-metre cruise ship at Hamilton’s Portside Wharf.

A Princess Cruises spokesman said the cleaning measures would delay the ship’s departure with a fresh crew of passengers on the same route later on Thursday.

The cruise saw an “elevated number” of guests suffering norovirus-induced gastro, he said.

Noro suspected: 15 concert-goers in NZ hospitalized

Fifteen people are in Gisborne Hospital with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, after attending Rhythm and Vines.

Local health authorities warn the symptoms look like norovirus, and some festival-goers may need to be isolated to stop a full outbreak.

Medical officer of health Dr Bruce Duncan said they needed to stop any further contamination.

“Fifteen young people were transported [this morning] to Gisborne Hospital, where an isolation ward has been set up.

“The priority is avoiding an outbreak. Norovirus has not been confirmed, but it remains a possibility.

“With thousands of people in close proximity, it was a priority to do all we can to prevent a mass outbreak.

“At this stage, this appears to have been successful.”

Norovirus sickens 70 at Kyoto hot springs inn

The Japan Times reports that in an apparent case of food poisoning earlier this month, 70 people came down with symptoms after eating at a hot springs inn in Kyoto and eight were found to be infected by the norovirus, the Kyoto Prefectural Government said Saturday.

The Kyoto Prefectural Government ordered the inn to suspend business for three days starting Saturday. None of the 70, who complained of vomiting and diarrhea, is in serious condition.

Local authorities believe the virus originated from an employee.

Cruising with noro and C. perfringens

More than 300 passengers on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades, Florida, fell ill with a stomach virus.

The Naples Daily News reports that the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s ship Independence Of The Seas docked Saturday in Florida reported 332 cases of gastro-intestinal illness among the 5,547 guests.

It was the second time in less than a month that illness hit passengers on one of the cruise line’s vessels.

The 5-night cruise was interrupted for those passengers, who had symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. One passenger, Victoria Nolan, described people throwing up in elevators.

Tracy Flores, a passenger, said her teen son, who is diabetic contracted the illness while on board.

“We brought him Wednesday night we wheeled him in, they already had a full waiting room and as we were sitting there, more wheelchairs were coming in, more wheelchairs were coming,” Flores told WPLG-TV. “Everybody was puking, everywhere they were leaving to go use the bathroom with diarrhea and it was just frightening.”

This follows an outbreak involving 100s of passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas cruise ship that were stricken with Norovirus on a recent cruise from Singapore to Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. The Ovation of the Seas has a capacity of 5,000 passengers and 1500 in crew members – making it the world’s fourth largest cruise ship and the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Australian waters.

And in something completely different – except for the cruise ship commonality — Outbreak News Today reports that Clostridium perfringens was the cause of an outbreak that sickened over 200 in Nov. 2017 aboard the Princess Cruises vessel Crown Princess.

Norovirus sickens 60 students at NC State; kindergarten in China

In an update to the North Carolina State University norovirus outbreak, about 60 students are experiencing symptoms.

For me it was for one night and that night it was like the apocalypse, honestly. It was, ugh, really bad,” said Astri Sundstroem, a graduate student who battled the virus this week.

Most of the affected students, including Sundstroem and senior Linda Astrom, live in the Alexander residence hall.

“It was really bad. It was very intense for like just a few hours. Everything broke out. It was crazy. Everyone was really sick,” Astrom said.

To demonstrate how infectious norovirus can be, Zhang et al. report in the current International Journal of Infectious Diseases – recommended bath time reading – that noroviruses are a common cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in institutions including schools and kindergartens around the world.

An outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China is reported here. An epidemiological investigation was conducted, and pathogen detection was performed. The descriptive analysis indicated that this outbreak in middle class 1 had a point source. Twenty cases of acute gastroenteritis occurred in this class within a period of 8.5 h; the attack rate was 52.6% (20/38). Airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a confined restroom could have played a critical role in this outbreak. Sequence analysis of GII-positive samples confirmed that the norovirus GII.P16-GII.2 variant was the etiological agent of this outbreak.

An acute gastroenteritis outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus associated with airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, China

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, December 2017, vol 65, pages 81-84,Ting-lu Zhang, Jing Lu, Liang Ying, Xiao-lu Zhu, Lian-hao Zhao, Meng-ying Zhou, Jia-long Wang, Guo-cai Chen, Lei Xu, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2017.10.003

http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(17)30259-X/fulltext